Genesis 16:10-16 Isaac or Ishmael?

And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.

And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.

And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?

Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.

And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.

When we last saw Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, we found them involved in something straight out of the drama filled soap operas that you watch on T.V. during the day. Abraham and Sarah had been promised a child from God and a good amount of time has passed since that promise. So they decide to do what we all do as mortal humans who think we need to help God out because He is too slow and they come up with their own way to progress things along. Abe and Sarah are old at this point and they still can’t see just how God is going to give her loins the jump-start that they would need to produce children. Sarah tells Abraham to take her mistress, Hagar, an Egyptian, and to go into the tent with her and conceive a child with her. Well, as you would imagine, it all blows up in their face, because it was not the will of God and we see what usually happens. Abraham, Mr. Macho, blames it all on Sarah: “She’s your problem! Do whatever you want with her!” Sarah is jealous: “She is making fun of me and trying to take my spot as wife to Abraham!” and then there is Hagar: “These guys are crazy! I’m a strong woman and I am getting out of here!”

Now we find Hagar out in the wilderness, not knowing what to do and God comes to her

Through the Angel of the Lord and we see that He gives her some promises as well regarding this child

(v10)And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.

God’s promise to multiply Hagar’s descendants is very similar to Abraham’s.

Gen 15:4  And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

Gen 15:5  And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

(v11)And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.

Ishmael means “God hears”

(v12)And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

This is something of a mixed blessing, although at the time, just to hear that he would survive was probably good news to Hagar. The term “wild man” suggests that Ishmael and his descendants would not be able to settle in one location. This passage also denotes that he and his descendants would be at war with everyone, yet endure.

Gen 25:12  Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s handmaid, bare unto Abraham:

Gen 25:13  And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam,

Gen 25:14  And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa,

Gen 25:15  Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah:

Gen 25:16  These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations.

Gen 25:17  And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people.

Gen 25:18  And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethren.

And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?

Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.

And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.

The Qur’an states that Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son. The son is not named in the Qur’an (see Qur’an 37:99–113) and in early Islam, there was a controversy over the son’s identity[citation needed]. However the belief that the son was Ishmael prevailed, and this view is continued to be endorsed by Muslim scholars.[4] The argument of those Muslims who believed in the Ishmael theory was that “the promise to Sarah of Isaac followed by Jacob (Qur’an 11:71–74) excluded the possibility of a sacrifice of Isaac.”[4] The other party held that the son of sacrifice was Isaac since “God’s perfecting his mercy on Abraham and Isaac (in Qur’an 12:6) referred to his making Abraham his friend and saving him from the burning bush and to his rescuing Isaac.”.[4]

According to Bruce Metzger and Michael Coogan, professors of Religious Studies, the circumcision of Muslims has its roots in the tradition that Ishmael was circumcised.[25]

The Bahá’í writings state that it was Ishmael, and not Isaac, who was the son that Abraham almost sacrificed.[26] However, the Bahá’í writings also state that the name is unimportant as either could be used: the importance is that both were symbols of sacrifice.[27] According to Shoghi Effendi, there has also been another Ishmael, this one a prophet of Israel, commonly known as Samuel.[28]

Ishmael’s descendants are considered the Arab peoples who populate most of the Middle East. The amazing thing is that the descendants of both Isaac and Ishmael are part of a very few groups of peoples to still exist today.

Perhaps this is the reason for such hatred between them that has lasted until our time. Both state the claim of being the true heir of Abraham, thus having the “Keys to the Kingdom” and being the true religion of God.

Both can’t be right.

Can both be wrong?

I can and will not give any judgment toward either group because I am not an expert of groups, mythology, history, or people. I can only state my belief as a Christian and as one, I am to side with Christ. To me then they don’t enjoy the full revelation of God, that being knowing the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Yet, at the same time, they would probably both look at myself and those like me as pluralistic God lovers who fell for some trick by some new age hucksters and a very poetic and powerful prophet.

How can we as Christians, shake our fists at them and tell them that they are dead wrong when they generally feel the same way I do toward their own beliefs as I do about mine?

I can’t judge them but I can stand up for my belief in Christ.

What do you think?

Also do you think that Hagar would identify with the God of Abraham and Sarah because of their actions? Could she have a different view of the God who came to her in the wilderness and possibly pass that along?

And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?

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About Clint Rodgers

I am a father of 2 wonderful children and the husband of a beautiful woman who has taught me more about compassion for goofballs than I could have ever learned. I have know Jesus for many years but about 5 years ago I truly met Him and now I do my best to follow Him as I walk in this world
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